Effect of Water Vapor, Temperature, and Rapid Annealing on Formamidinium Lead Triiodide Perovskite Crystallization

Joseph Berry, Mengjin Yang, Mowafak Al-Jassim, Kai Zhu, Sarah Wozny, Nooraldeen Alkurd, Libor Kovarik, Terry Holesinger, Weilie Zhou, Jeffery Aguiar

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28 Scopus Citations


Perovskite-based solar cells are one of the emerging candidates for radically lower cost photovoltaics. Herein, we report on the synthesis and crystallization of organic-inorganic formamidinium lead triiodide perovskite films under controlled atmospheric and environmental conditions. Using in situ (scanning) transmission electron microscopy, we make observations of the crystallization process of these materials in nitrogen and oxygen gas with and without the presence of water vapor. Complementary planar samples were also fabricated in the presence of water vapor and characterized by in situ X-ray diffraction. Direct observations of the material structure and final morphology indicate that the exposure to water vapor results in a porous film that is metastable, regardless of the presence of argon, nitrogen, or oxygen. However, the optimal crystallization temperature of 175 °C is unperturbed across conditions. Rapid modulation about the annealing temperature of 175 °C in ±25 °C steps (150-200 °C) promotes crystallization and significantly improves the film morphology by overcoming the presence of impregnated water trapped in the material. Following this processing protocol, we demonstrate substantial growth to micron-size grains via observation inside of an environmentally controlled transmission electron microscope. Adapting this insight from our in situ microscopy, we are able to provide an informed materials protocol to control the structure and morphology of these organic-inorganic semiconductors, which is readily applicable to benchtop device growth strategies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)155-161
Number of pages7
JournalACS Energy Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 8 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-66601


  • crystallization
  • perovskite
  • solar cells
  • synthesis


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